Top Tips to Find Your Perfect Dream Client

Top Tips to Find Your Perfect Dream Client

Top Tips for Finding Your Perfect Client

One of the hardest things for me to grasp when I was starting out was buying into the belief that not everyone was my client.

I wanted out of my soul sucking job so bad I was willing to take anybody as a client – even though I knew deep down it was NOT the best fit for me.

I would work with any client that showed interest in working with me.

But… I learned very quickly that that’s not the right way to run a service-based business.

Because it’s all about relationships!

Have you ever done that? 

Gone against your better judgement and said Yes to working with a client that you knew was not right?

What I mean by not right – is not right for you.

It’s all about working with the right clients – your dream clients.

But, when you’re just getting started and trying to land that first client it’s tempting to just say YES to whoever wants to hire you.

You’re hungry.

You want to get your business up and running – to get experience as a Virtual Assistant.

And… maybe get yourself one step closer to escaping the cube farm.

I get it!

I did this more times that I wish to admit and what happened was not pretty.

I ended up having to “fire” clients because it was not a good working relationship for either of us.

And… firing clients is NOT fun.

I eventually learned to listen to my instincts and follow them when it came to working with clients.

That’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and your potential clients.

Listen to your instinct, your gut, your source or whatever you want to call it, because it’s going to guide you to make the best decisions for YOU.

I know it’s scary to say NO to potential clients for a number of reasons but you started your business to work with the type of people you enjoy.

Not the ones you don’t.

Remember… it’s all about the relationship.

To help me avoid making the same mistake I came up with what I called my “Dream Client Profile“.

It’s really more of a checklist than a profile.

You see, I’m not worried about whether or not their married or have kids or live in South Carolina.

What I want to know is if they’re a micro-manager or a nit-picker.

Yes… I know I’m using labels here but these are to help ME identify the people that I KNOW I don’t work well with.

So, I invite you to do the same.

Grab a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.

On one side of the paper write down all the traits you know you LIKE to work with.

To help you get started, think of people you’ve worked within the past or current clients that you really enjoy working with.

Then ask yourself, what did you like about them?

What made it enjoyable to work with them?

On the other side of the paper, list out all the traits you DON’T like to work with.

Remember… You’re entering into a relationship with a client, so you want to make sure that you’re only working with people that you enjoy.

I’m sure in your past you can think of people that fit both sides of the coin, people that you really liked to work with and people that you didn’t.

Try to identify the traits that you really liked or disliked.

For me, I just cut right to the chase and I only did a dislike list (it was easier and much shorter).

It was easier for me to think of the traits I didn’t like.

Now both sides of the list are important – you really should know the types of people you like to work with.

But… you need to really focus on the Don’t Like list when interviewing potential clients.

Why?

Because they should NOT have any of the traits on that list.

So, each time I interviewed a potential client I knew what to watch out for.

I do not work well with the following types:

  1. Micro-Managers
  2. Fire Fighters (not real firefighters… I’m talking about people who run around like their hair is on fire where everything is urgent or late)

If someone has these traits it doesn’t make them BAD – it just makes them not a good fit for me.

Make sure you’re filling your business full of client’s that you LOVE.

If you fill a space with someone that isn’t the right fit, then you don’t have room for one that is.

So… are you going to create your own list?

When it comes to interviewing potential clients – it’s important to have a rinse and repeat system.

I have an entire blog post on Discovery Sessions that you can read here.

It walks you through my system, including what to ask during the interview and much more.

Give it a read if you’re interested.

One other thing I wanted to touch on is the number of scams showing up in our industry every day.

For example…

  • If you’re offered a job WITHOUT an interview – it’s a scam.
  • If they ask you to send them money or pay for something upfront – it’s a scam.
  • If they want to send you a check or wire you money without knowing anything about you – it’s a scam.
  • If it’s too good to be true – probably a scam.

Ask around, Google their information to find out more.

Unfortunately, there are more and more scams popping up every day.

Protect yourself!

Ok… last thing about perfect client fit is understanding you are not an employee, you’re an independent contractor.

This is where things can get a bit sticky since many people come out of a professional type job and are used to managing employees.

They think it’s the same way they manage contractors… but it’s NOT.

You need to check the laws for your country to find out more details about employees vs. contractors.

Here in the United States, there is a very clear statute that the IRS wrote that clearly defines the differences.

Bottom line is your clients are not your employer and cannot dictate certain things to you.

If you find your clients are confused about what they can and can’t do – use it as a learning opportunity and send them to the appropriate site.

Here’s the link if you want to find out more about US rules + regulations.

Sorry… I know I said last thing but just thought of two other important things I want to include.

Don’t discount your rate to get a client – it sets the wrong expectation.

They may believe that your rates are negotiable and they shouldn’t be.

Your rate, is your rate, is your rate.

Don’t lower it because someone doesn’t want to pay it.

They’re not your dream client!

Let them go.

My best advice is don’t work with anyone who is NOT your dream/perfect client.

If you’re having trouble finding them, then maybe look at your process.

Where are you looking for clients?

If you’re on one of those eBay for people sites like Fiverr or Guru, then you’re competing with others that are just looking for the cheapest resource they can find.

You’re more than a cheap resource.

Go where you’ll find the clients that will pay you what you’re worth.

I like the fishing analogy here – if you’re currently charging $25 an hour and increase your rates to $50 an hour, you’ll need to move to a new pond where you can find your dream clients.

How are you approaching potential clients?

If you start off by selling something, I’d suggest a different approach.

You’re starting a relationship – start by giving them something of value.

Solve a problem using your expertise.

Give them a free checklist or share a blog post that shows your brilliance.

Whew… I know this was a lot of information but I hope you’ve found it helpful.

Hopefully, I’ve given you some things to think about.

The last thing you probably want to do is be unhappy in your business because you’re not working with the right clients.

I’d love to know if you did the list exercise – please share below as a comment.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Setting Your Rates
  2. Virtual Assistant Systems
  3. Interviewing Potential Clients – My System
  4. Back End Vs. Front End Type Services

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

You Need a Trusted Parter in Your VA Business To Keep From Losing Clients

You Need a Trusted Parter in Your VA Business To Keep From Losing Clients

If you are a solo Virtual Assistant, having a trusted partner or partners is a must.

First… a little bit of background on what they are and why you need one (Trusted Partners).

If you’re a service provider and you’re a solopreneur… you are the business.

You’re a one-person shop so to speak.

Nobody else in your business does what you do or can do what you do.

Now, maybe you have a team that supports you, but they’re not the ones that go out and make the money for the business.

If you’re a Virtual Assistant, chances are you’re a solopreneur.

You’re the one that does the work and delivers the services.

If you have a team of Virtual Assistants or Freelancers that work with your clients – you’re not a solopreneur!

Even coaches are considered solopreneurs!

So… What’s a Trusted Partner?

A Trusted Partner is someone who can step into your business and essentially be you when you want or need to take time away from your business.

Why do you need one?

To help your clients when you are unavailable.

What happens when you get sick or have an emergency and need to be out of the office for more than a day or two?

Your clients business doesn’t stop because you do.

They have tasks that need to be done + delivered even when you’re out of the office.

Do you currently have someone who can step in and assist your clients while your away?

I didn’t… and this is what happened to me and how the Trusted Partner was born.

I had all these wonderful clients.

I was always busy, always had a lot on my plate, always had a lot of to-dos.

Then… I got sick.

In fact, I got pneumonia, and I wasn’t able to complete my daily to-dos or meet my deadlines.

And… you probably can guess what happened next.

Because I didn’t have anyone who I trusted and had similar skills as myself to do the work, I lost a few clients.

They had to go elsewhere to get their stuff done. And, I totally get it!

(Some of my other clients could wait until I got back to work but several of them were in the midst of a launch and couldn’t afford to wait).

I couldn’t work… I was just that sick.

And… on another note I don’t advocate for working when you’re sick or on vacation or need to be present for a family member.

You need time OFF – it’s that simple.

I didn’t take a vacation for the first three years of my business, which is not healthy.

I realized that I needed to have somebody who could back me up when I was unavailable and that is how the Trusted Partner was born.

Essentially a Trusted Partner becomes you when you’re unavailable for any reason.

So… what if you have a family emergency or you just need a mental health day, or, you get really sick?

How will you provide coverage for your clients?

A quick side note for those of you that are brand new to the VA Industry, this is something that you should start looking into as soon as possible. You want to take care of your clients, even when you’re out of the office.

It gives them a sense of comfort, plus this is something that not everybody does – have a Trusted Partner.

How do you find one?

In order for them to become you while you’re away, they need to have similar skill sets as you so they can do the work that needs to get done.

That way you can truly relax or get healthy while your business is in good hands.

They should be someone you know and trust.

You can find them through colleagues and even Facebook groups.

Facebook groups are a great place to start, but you have to build a relationship with someone, because you are trusting these people to run your business while you’re unavailable.

So you want to make sure that they’re a good fit for you and understand how your business works.

Bottom line is it takes TIME to find the right person.

As I mentioned they need to have similar skills, but they also need to understand how your business is run since this is NOT a cookie cutter industry.

Every business is different.

I reached out to a few colleagues that I had worked with in the past and asked them if they would be interested in being each others Trusted Partner.

These were Virtual Assistants that I had worked with on a team or who had done sub-contractor work for me.

The most important thing is to find someone you know and trust who has similar skills to you.

That way they can handle any of the tasks that may come their way.

Look at your friends, at colleagues, at people that are in groups with you, whether it’s a paid group or a free one.

Reach out to people and say, “Hey, I need a Trusted Partner and I need somebody that does X,Y, Z.”

You have to make sure you’re really zoned in on what type of skills you want. They may not have the depth of knowledge, but they should be able to do the work that needs to get done while you’re away.

How do you use them?

Once you’ve found your partner(s), be sure to let your clients know about them and how they work.

This should be part of your Business Policies and Client Kick Off call process – to introduce the concept and how they work with your Trusted Partner.

I introduced my Trusted Partners to my clients and explained that they were only available when I was unavailable for extended periods of time (3 days or more) and not for any other reason.

They’re not for emergencies when they can’t reach you for some reason.

Unavailable means you’re out of the office, on vacation, you have a family emergency, you’re sick.

That’s when the Trusted Partner would step in.

You would let your clients know the situation – that you’re on vacation, sick or otherwise unavailable and remind them about your Trusted Partners and how to connect with them.

Be sure to add the exact process for working with your Trusted Partners to your business policies document and discuss it with your clients. This way they are clear on how and when to use them. Also, add your Trusted Partners contact information and skills to your business policies document.

How do you pay them (Trusted Partner)?

That’s something that you have to figure out – but they should be paid for any work they do for you.

Remember, they are providing a valuable service for you and your clients.

It gives you peace of mind and time to unplug while you’re unavailable AND it gives your clients peace of mind knowing they have help.

My Trusted Partners and I kept it simple.

We decided to be subcontractors for each other and charge a lesser rate for the work that we did while acting as a Trusted Partner.

Since we were each others, this kept the whole thing simple.

One more quick thing…

I would set up a business email for them at your company.

For instance, [email protected].

That will keep it simple for them and your clients when reaching out to them.

So by having a trusted partner in your business, you have somebody that can step in and help them do what they need to do while you’re unavailable. It’s going to give you peace of mind while you’re out of the office, and give your clients peace of mind that they know if you’re unavailable, they have someone they can go to that can help them. And so that’s a trusted partner.

Having a Trusted Partner gives you and your clients peace of mind.

Your clients have someone they can reach out to if they need anything while you are unavailable.

And you can unplug, recharge, get healthy or tend to whatever you need while you’re away.

It makes a huge difference between keeping and losing clients.

Here is a quick checklist to help you get started finding your Trusted Partners!

Trusted Partner™ Checklist

  1. Reach out to people you trust. These can be people you have worked with on a team, met on social media or were in a course together. I recommend finding two or more.
  2. Be sure they have similar skills as you. Remember, they are going to be stepping into your business and acting as you while you are unavailable. This means that they need to understand how you run your business.
  3. Decide on whether or not you are going to pay your partners. Sometimes we paid each other, other times we just bartered for each other’s services. This is something you need to work out together. And, be sure to get it all in writing!
  4. Work with your trusted partners to create the process you use when an emergency happens and you have to be out of the office.
  5. Train your trusted partners in how you work with clients and the tools that you use (great time to have an operations manual). 
  6. Add the trusted partner process to your business policies document and share it with your clients.
  7. Make an introduction to your clients and make sure they understand the process for working with your trusted partners.
  8. Create an email for them at your company to help keep it easy for everyone involved.
  9. Decide how much and when to pay your Trusted Partners for providing this invaluable service to you and your clients.

When was the last time you truly unplugged from your business without panicking or worrying about everything that wasn’t getting done? I’d love to know.

Do you have a Trusted Partner?

I’d love to know!

All comments + questions are welcome.

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to find a Trusted Partner for your business.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Getting Organized
  2. Changing Your Employee Mindset
  3. Start Working With Clients

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Setting Up a Virtual Assistant Business

Setting Up a Virtual Assistant Business

Setting up a Virtual Assistant Business:
What You Need to Know

It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?

All the information on the web about setting up a virtual assistant business.

There are pages and pages of it!

It can be overwhelming and confusing.

It’s hard to know what to do first or where to start.

I remember what it was like when I started out way back in 2009.

I found tons of helpful information.

But the problem was… it was not a complete system or process.

I had to try and put all the information together myself and hope I had it right.

Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t.

It took lots of trial and error AND time to figure out what I needed and in what order.

To help you avoid the same mistakes that I made, I thought I would share my system.

Because it’s all about systems.

A business is after all just a series of systems working together.

I’m creating a series of blog posts on how to set up a virtual assistant business.

Everything you need to know laid out in a simple, step-by-step system. (Something I wish I had when I first started).

In this first blog post, I’ll be sharing an overview of the steps & processes you need to get your VA business up and running. Plus a few other things that I think would be helpful – not just the nuts and bolts of things.

So, let’s get started.

First, you need a plan.

A plan for how and when you’re going to do the work needed to make it happen.

I have a step-by-step action plan that walks you through everything you need to set up your VA business – in fact it’s a big old list of tasks to follow. You can find out more about it by clicking the image below.

Second, know what to expect.

You need to realize that whenever you do something new there is a sense of overwhelm because it’s new, you’ve never done it before.

Understand going in, that you are going to have a sense of overwhelm.

You may also have a sense of confusion because, it’s something you’ve never done before.

For most of us starting out, we’ve never built a business before. I was an employee for over 20 years – I had NO clue how to build a business when I started.

Expect confusion and overwhelm when you’re starting any type of new venture. It could be a diet, it could be an exercise routine, it could be a business.

Just go in with your eyes open and have an idea of what you’re getting in to.

It’s NOT easy regardless of what others may say – it takes hard work to build a successful business.

Third, don’t collect gurus.

Don’t add to your sense of overwhelm or confusion by doing what I call “collecting gurus“.

What I mean is when you listen to several different people on how to do something specific – like set up a VA business.

You may join multiple VA groups on Facebook and subscribe to multiple VA coaches or trainers on YouTube looking for advice or how to’s.

The problem with this is you hear, read or watch 8 different ways to do the same thing!

You get more confused because I may say one thing and someone else says something completely different.

It’s not that any of the advice is wrong – there is more than one way to do everything.

There’s no right or best way, it just depends on who you’re listening to and the method that their using.

Trust me I know – I am a research junkie, I love to collect research, and I fell into this same trap myself.

I listened to podcasts, watched vidoes and read every blog post I could find on being a Virtual Assistant.

I collected so much data (I had a spreadsheet with 11 different tabs) that I got stuck in Analysis Paralysis and ended up with a massive headache to boot!

Because I had listened to too many people, I had no clue which one to follow, or which system to implement because they were all different.

I finally had to choose which person I was going to follow and actually do what they were teaching or suggesting.

Otherwise I would have stayed stuck forever!

So… if you find yourself collecting gurus, PICK THE ONE that resonates with you the most and follow their advice.

Do what they’re suggesting! How do you know if what they’re saying works unless you do it?

Whether that’s me, or someone else, take action and do the work until you get results or you don’t.

If you don’t get the results you want, move on to the next guru or expert.

If it does work think how happy you’ll be!

By collecting gurus and experts, you get different opinions on different things, but the problem is that you get overwhelmed, you get even more confused, and then you get stuck because you don’t know what to do and you don’t know who to follow.

You have to make a decision and then take action.

Fourth, you need to know what it takes.

It takes hard work to set up and launch a VA business.

There is a lot to do when you’re building a business, whether it’s a VA business, or you’re knitting sweaters for a living.

Whatever it might be, there is so much that goes into it.

It’s not something you’re going to do in 30 days.

It’s not something you’re going to do in a weekend.

Now, you probably could, but the question is do you want long-term success?

If you want long-term success, you have to put in the ground work.

You have to build the foundation for a solid long-standing business.

You need to put the time and energy into the back end of your business – your business systems.

A business is made up of systems – you need to make sure that those systems are in place.

Besides systems – you also need the skills that clients want.

Just like in the job world, it’s all about the skills and expertise you have.

You need to look at your current skill set and how you can use it to your advantage.

You don’t need any special Certification to be successful.

Fifth, have realistic expectations.

I know I had unrealistic expectations when I started my business, because I thought, “Yeah, I can do this and I can get out of my soul sucking job in six months.”

Ha… was that ever unrealistic!

I really didn’t understand what I was getting into, or the amount of work that it takes.

I’m painting a real picture here for you.

Make sure that you set realistic expectations for whatever your life is and your schedule is.

If you’re working in a 50 hour career plus you’ve got three kids and a two hour commute, you’re probably not going to build a business in 30 days, at least not one that’s long-standing and successful.

Just set realistic expectations and go for it, but just realize what your getting into.

It’s not easy.

And sixth, you need to take action.

All right, so part of building a business or anything is taking action to get where you want to go.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Take imperfect action every day.”

I am a recovering perfectionist, overthinker.

I can be my own worst enemy and get in my way all the time, so I have to focus on taking imperfect action every day.

I can do imperfect action!

Think about how you can take imperfect action every day to get one step closer to your dream, whatever your dream is, whether it’s quitting your job, or just making some extra money on the side, you need to take some type of imperfect action to achieve it.

You could start by implementing your key business systems.

These systems are the foundation of your business.

Without them, your business is on shaky ground.

Remember… a business is a system.

Here are the 4 key business systems you need to implement:

  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Delivery

We will be diving into each one of these key systems, along with planning and understanding what it takes to set up a successful Virtual Assistant business in this blog series.

For the next blog post, we are focusing on creating a plan for how and when you’re going to do the work needed to get your VA business off the ground.

Do you have a plan for setting up a Virtual Assistant Business?

I’d love to know if you do!

If not, be sure to check out my Getting Started VA Action Plan.

It’s a step-by-step plan to set up + launch your VA Business with confidence and it’s affordable!

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to set up your VA biz.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

Here are a few related blog posts that might be of interest:

  1. Virtual Assistant Certifications + Why You Don’t Need One
  2. VA Coaching & Training 101 + What You Need To Watch Out For
  3. Virtual Assistant Systems + What You Need To Know
  4. Virtual Assistant Business Plan + What You Need In Your Plan

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

What To Watch Out For When Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

What To Watch Out For When Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

What to watch out for if you’re starting a virtual assistant business.

What I call Bad Advice!

Seems like I’ve been on my soapbox a lot lately… and I guess I have because I’ve seen such a change in the VA Industry in the last year.

I’ve seen so many pieces of what I call “bad advice” given to new Virtual Assistants; I wanted to write a blog post that covers them all!

And… I’ve just added a bit more to this list!

It’s the good, bad + ugly things you need to watch out for when you’re starting your VA business.

Oh… some of this stuff is actually taught by so-called experts in their training + coaching programs and used in their marketing.

This will be one of those posts that grows – as I find more bad advice I’ll be sure to add it to the list.

So… let’s dive in.

#1 The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy – I wrote an entire blog post on this one but I’m going to summarize it here. (You can read the full post here).

I understand taking an opportunity to learn something new but you need to be honest with your clients. Let them know you’re willing to learn – don’t fake it.

Faking means you’re not really sure what you’re doing. Like saying you know Infusionsoft but you’ve never seen it before.

Lack of confidence means you have the skills and know what you’re doing, you’ve just not done it enough to be confident yet. For example, you’ve taken classes to learn WordPress but you’ve not offered it as a service yet. Do you really want to fake it with your clients? You’re working in their business – their baby.

They trust you can do what you say. Remember, it’s your business and reputation on the line.

Oh… and if you’re thinking about offering back-end type services such as social media marketing or techie tools, be sure you get the training you need. These are not the same as offering admin skills that you can learn OTJ.

The VA Industry is NOT Admin only!

#2 Work For Free – Why would you work for free? Your knowledge, skills + expertise are valuable and you should be paid for them. When you work for free you’re not valuing the work you do or yourself. Not to mention, people who want things for free can turn out to be nightmare clients.

I see lots of people saying work for free for a testimonial, but you’re still giving away your time + knowledge. And… they’re worth something, right? Yes, they are!

Instead of working for free, offer a discounted rate, a launch special, a flash sale but don’t work for FREE.

Once the work is done ask them for a testimonial.

They get a break on the rate and you get paid for your time, expertise and knowledge.

#3 It’s Easy Anyone Can Do It (Be a Virtual Assistant). Nope, not true. It’s not easy and not everyone is cut out to be a VA. Take the time to really understand what it takes to be successful.

Learn all you can about the day in the life of a Virtual Assistant so you can make the right decision for you. Just know that it’s a lot of work when starting out but it’s worth it for the freedom and flexibility you get.

Remember… it’s a Business NOT a JOB. 

It’s a tremendous amount of work to set up a business and learn all you need to know about being a business owner + a Virtual Assistant.

If it’s not for you – that’s OK. Just realize it’s not easy.

#4 You Can Make $5k In Your First 30 Days. No one can guarantee how much you’ll make in any timeframe… period.

There are so many factors that go into being successful as a VA.

Is it possible? Sure but it’s the exception NOT the rule.

The potential to make this type of money is there but you have to do the work… this is NOT a get rich quick scheme.

This is a marketing ploy used to get your attention.

#5 Get a VA Certification. I wrote a blog post on this one too! I’ll summarize it here but if you want to read the whole thing click here.

There are NO true “Virtual Assistant Certifications”.

There is NO Industry wide approved certification.

Now, I know there are a few organizations that offer certifications, just be aware of what they mean by certified.

Ask questions like “What do you need to do to obtain the certification and what do you get from it?“

There’s a big difference between completion and certification.

Bottom line is you don’t need to be certified to be a successful Virtual Assistant and be sure you understand what you’re getting for your investment of both time and money.

#6 Get Your First Client Then Figure Out What To Do Next. Not a good way to start a successful business. A business is a system. You need to set up your business systems BEFORE you work with clients.

I’ve seen people who followed this advice and ended up posting for help on what to do next in a Facebook Group and guess what? The client that just hired them was in the group and saw the post. Not a good way to start a relationship.

If you’re looking to build a successful business and give your clients a first-class experience, do yourself and them a favor, don’t follow this bad piece of advice.

Take the time to have your business set up before you land your first client.

#7 How To Start Your VA Business With NO Money. You can definitely bootstrap starting a Virtual Assistant business BUT you will need some money. I’m not talking about thousands of dollars here, you can probably get by for $500 – $1,000. I know that sounds like a ton of money – especially when you don’t have it, but you don’t have to lay it all out at once.

Create a budget for yourself – do the research to find out how much things cost. It all varies based on where you live and the type of services you are offering.

Remember… you’re building a business NOT a hobby.

And… you want it to be successful right?

Then you’re going to have to invest $$$ into it.

Just realize that there is an investment in starting any business – it’s not free.

#8 How To Start a VA Business With NO Experience.  I’m willing to bet that about 99% of all Virtual Assistants started with ZERO experience. I was never a VA before nor was I ever a business owner.

You don’t need experience as a Virtual Assistant to start a VA business. But… you need to have some experience working one-on-one with clients. If you don’t, it will be a much harder journey.

#9 If You’re Confused or Don’t Know What To Charge Start at $25 an Hour.  One of the worst things that I’ve seen in my opinion is advice around if you are confused or don’t know what to charge an hour, start at 25 bucks.

I’m sorry, I have a real problem with this and I may ruffle some feathers, but I really don’t care because this is bad advice.

How can anybody tell you that $25 is what you should charge if you don’t know? How do they know??

You don’t just pull a number out of a hat and say hey “charge this”. (If you do… you’ll probably be out of business quickly or realize you need to raise your rates to survive).

First of all, you should know your baseline rate because all of us have a different number that we need to earn to be successful. The last thing you want to do is start your business and then struggle for money.

There are clients that will pay you what you want or what you need. You just have to believe that!

My best analogy is there are business coaches that make $100 an hour and there are business coaches that make $50,000 an hour and they both have clients.

So… please don’t let somebody dictate what your rate is because if someone would’ve said, “Susan, you need to start at $25 an hour,” I’d have gone out of business because my hourly rate was $50 an hour minimum!

This is NOT a cookie cutter industry.

It is NOT one size fits all. 

Please don’t fall for this AWFUL piece of advice.

If you don’t know what rates to charge, do your homework!

I’d hate to see you undercharging for your expertise and having a hard time paying your bills because you followed advise from someone saying if you’re confused or don’t know what to charge start at $25 an hour!

If you don’t how much you need to charge, please take a few minutes to watch my YouTube series on setting your rates and walking you through how to find your baseline rate. It’s FREE and includes a link to download my rate calculation sheet too!

Spend the time, do the exercise and find out how much you need to earn so you can stay in business because $25 might not be enough. You may need $50 or $75. Remember, believe in what you’re offering and believe in yourself, but please do not fall for that piece of very bad advice in my opinion.

I don’t want people to have to struggle to pay their bills based on bad advice.

Here’s the YouTube series on setting your rates – watch it to find out what your baseline rate is BEFORE you set your rates.

Whew… ok that’s it for now. I hope you found these of value.

As I find more, I’ll be sure to add them to the list.

If you’ve got one to share, please do!

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

Be sure to use the share buttons to share this post with anyone who might benefit from this information.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

We All Struggled When Starting Our VA Journey

We All Struggled When Starting Our VA Journey

 

You’re Not Alone – We All Struggled When Starting Our Virtual Assistant Journey

There are so many misconceptions on the ways to build a successful Virtual Assistant business!

Lately, I’ve seen several people who are struggling to start their business, juggle their family and business, and maybe even a job.

They’re struggling to get clients or understand marketing + sales.

And… they’re getting really discouraged when it comes to building a Virtual Assistant business.

I know there’s a lot of stuff out there floating around on the Internet that talks about, hey, you know what, you can start your VA business from your pajamas, using only your phone, in just 30 days!

Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it??

Well, I hate to break it to you, but it is.

First of all, you need more than a phone to be successful. You can certainly do it in your pajamas, but you really need more than 30 days, or a weekend, to set up a successful business.

Sure, you could set up a business in a weekend, but will it be successful?

And… why waste time and energy, if you’re going to build a business, why not do it right?

Why not make it so it’s successful for the long run?

Instead of throwing something together with spit and band-aids over the weekend and then having to go back and duct tape any holes, spend time on building a solid foundation that will support the business + lifestyle you crave.

You really want to make sure that you understand and are clear on what it takes to be successful.

I also want you to know that every one of us, everybody that you see on the Internet, no matter what type of service they’re offering, or what business they’re in, we all started at ZERO.

We all started with NO experience.

A lot of us started with ZERO business experience.

I was an employee my entire life, so I didn’t have any idea how to run a business.

Many of us don’t have a college education.

We don’t have any business skills, or the skills you need to run a business.

Maybe we have skills from being a professional, but we don’t know how to use those skills in a business capacity.

We don’t have experience as a Virtual Assistant. I’d never been a VA before.

This is all NEW to most of us when were starting out.

And then, we have to learn how to juggle everything that’s happening.

I had a full time job with an infant at home. I had to figure out how to juggle my life, and my family, and my job in order to build my business.

It took time – I had to learn how to create a schedule that worked for me.

So my point is, you need to realize this is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes time to build a successful business. It’s hard work. It really is.

But, think of it this way, you’re going to put the most time and effort into that first year of building your business because you want to build a solid foundation for your business to grow and flourish.

You need to put in the time and effort.

It’s not easy to do.

In order to get through the tough times ahead – you really have to focus on WHY you’re doing this.

What’s the reason behind you building a VA business, or whatever type of business you’re building?

For me, if you’ve read any of my blogs, or watched my videos, or listened to my podcast, you know that FREEDOM is my word.

Freedom in every sense of the word.

Even 10 years ago, freedom was what I was trying to achieve – to get out of my soul sucking job. I wanted my freedom!

It’s still my word today!

It’s my WHY.

Because you are going to have a bad day, a bad month, a bad week. And, if you learn how to focus on the dream and not the drama, it’s going to help you succeed.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.

It’s not who can build their business the fastest. It’s not a competition. I could build a business in two hours, but that doesn’t mean it will be successful.

There’s a lot of growth that goes into building a business, a lot of self-growth.

Because you are the business, if you have self-limiting beliefs, you’re going to bump up against them and you’re going to have to fix them. Self-limiting beliefs will STOP you in your tracks.

It is going to take time for you to figure out what services you want to offer.

Who do you want to help? Who is your dream client? What do they look like?

All this stuff takes time.

If you don’t do the work – you’re going to have a tough road.

Some people fly right through this and they know right from the beginning, they’re the exception, not the rule.

It took me a long time and a lot of iterations to really figure out what it was that I wanted to be when I grew up.

Who I wanted to help, how I wanted to help them. This information is key to being successful and it can take time to figure it all out.

Realize your business is not static. It doesn’t stay the same. It’s going to grow and change as you grow and change. Lean into it!

I think the biggest thing is you need to realize that we all started at ground zero, we started with no clients, no experience.

You can learn what you need to be successful.

So if you don’t know your WHY – figure it out. Why do you want to do this?

And then remember, take care of yourself because you are your business. Be kind, be realistic in the journey that you’re on. Understand it takes time.

Regardless of all the noise you see out there on social media, you can’t buy into it because you don’t know what their backstory is. They may be telling you it took them 30 days, but it may have taken them 30 months.

That’s a sales pitch.

That’s a marketing ploy.

There are people that can do that, but they’re the exception, not the rule.

It took me 18 months – 18 months to be able to build a successful + sustainable business to where I could leave my soul-sucking job.

It was NOT an overnight or weekend thing.

The best thing I can tell you if you’re like me if you’re a recovering perfectionist and an over-thinker, is focus on Imperfect Action.

Do something every day to move yourself closer to your dream.

Focus on the dreams, not the drama.

Realize you’re going to make mistakes. It’s how you respond to the mistakes that really makes the difference. Do you get up, dust yourself off and go on? Because you should, mistakes are not death in a business. It means you’re trying.

You’re going to bump up against obstacles. How do you handle that? Some obstacles you can go around or under or over, some you have to go through. Don’t give up.

You need to understand it’s going to be bumpy.

It’s going to be ugly.

You’re going to have bad days, bad months.

How do you deal with it?

You have to know WHY you want to do this and understand that it’s all part of the journey. Nobody has it easy, regardless of what they may tell you, because they probably had plenty of bumps along the road.

So remember, take care of yourself, be realistic.

Get a plan together. How are you going to do this?

Most of us, when we started, had no idea how we were going to build a business. I know I didn’t. I kind of formulated a plan over time.

That’s why I came up with my Getting Started System, and my Action Plan, that actually goes through step by step, every step that you need to do to build a successful + sustainable business on your own time, on your own schedule. It’s basically a long to-do list, that’s why it’s called an Action Plan.

Have a plan of how you’re going to do this and then get started.

Be realistic in the goals that you set and you will get there.

But most of all, be kind to yourself.

Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we all started at level zero when we started our VA business.

You’ve got this!

Focus on the dream NOT the drama!

So… what are you going to do next, I’d love to know!

All comments + questions are welcome.

I’d love to hear from you.

If you prefer to watch instead of read here’s the link to the YouTube video – https://youtu.be/JhdJ2vcxRhs

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Skills To Be a Professionsl Virtual Assistant
  2. 4 Ways to Scale Your Virtual Assistant Business
  3. Fake It Until You Make It Strategy

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Virtual Assistant is NOT a Title…

Virtual Assistant is NOT a Title…

Why You Need To Stop Calling Yourself a Virtual Assistant.

It’s an Industry.

Like many of us, when we’re first starting out, we become part of the VA industry and we take on the title of Virtual Assistant.

Which, is really not a good thing.

First off, titles don’t mean as much in the entrepreneurial world or the solo-preneurial world as they do in corporate America.

For instance, when I was in corporate America, my title was Senior IT Project Manager.

Well, a lot of stuff hung from that title, like what I did, who I worked for, which department, how much money I made, and so much more was actually rolled up into my title.

Now when you become your own boss, titles really don’t matter. They don’t carry the same amount of weight as they did when you were an employee.

But now…  nobody really cares what you call yourself (no disrespect).

What clients want is somebody who can solve their problems. You could call yourself Queen of Sheba as long as you solved your client’s problems.

The point is titles don’t really matter to your clients.

Now back to why you need to stop calling yourself a Virtual Assistant.

When you’re talking to people, whether it be family, friends or even prospective clients at a networking event and they ask you – “What do you do?”.

And, you answer – “I’m a Virtual Assistant”.

You’ll most likely get one of two responses.

One – you get the deer in the headlights look. In other words they really have no idea what that means.

Two – they assume you’re and Admin in one way, shape or form.

I didn’t want to be known as an Admin – because I wasn’t one.

I was not offering admin type services  – I was offering backend systems + techie services.

The types of services that gave my the freedom I wanted and didn’t keep me tied to my desk certain hours a day like admin work does.

So… when I talk to somebody and they’re like, “Oh, Virtual Assistant. You can answer my phone or you manage my email.”

I’m like, “Uh, no. That’s not what I do.”

I quickly realized that using VA as a title or as a business owner wasn’t working for me.

I had to spend too much time trying to explain what the heck it was that I did. So, I changed my strategy to thinking about Virtual Assistant as an industry NOT a title.

And… really that is what it is, it’s not a title, but I know for most of us who’ve come out of corporate American or any JOB with a title, that’s what we kind of glob onto.

We want to call ourself a Virtual Assistant.

But… it’s time to move on and away from being a “VA”.

Remember people, don’t know what it is, they assume you’re an admin.

Start looking at VA as an industry and focus on what you do for your clients. How you help them – that is where you need to shift your focus.

If you need a title for your business card or an event, use something related to the services you offer. For example Email Marketing Manager, Transcriptionist, Social Media Specialist, etc.

Oh and before I forget… stop spending money on business cards.

They don’t work!

Instead use a Benefits Flyer™. It’s something I came up with myself many years ago because when I handed someone my business card (especially if it said VA on it), we had the same old conversation. “Well, what is it that you do? Can you explain that to me?”

So… I dropped both the business card + the title of VA and went with a flyer that says, “Here’s how I can help you.

I’ve included a link to “How to create a Benefits Flyer™” at the end of this post just in case you want to know more.

Going forward you want to focus on how you help people and the results they get and not on a title.

For instance, let’s say that I am a social media manager and my focus is the travel industry.

So when someone asks, “Hey Susan, what do you do?”

I answer, “Well, I help family-owned travel agencies manage their social media.”  Then people immediately understand what I do.

Use this simple formula: I help, WHO (who do you help – your target audience) RESULTS (what results do they get) + HOW (how do you help them – what do you do).

A few more examples to help you are…

I help Business Coaches (WHO) get in front of their audience (RESULTS) by managing their social media (HOW).

I help Yoga Studios (WHO) get more clients (RESULTS) by writing great copy (HOW).

I help Virtual Assistants (WHO) launch a successful business (RESULTS) by teaching them how to create and implement systems (HOW).

I know it takes time for many people to come up with these – to summarize them in one sentence.

It took me a long time – it’s part of getting clear on who you help and how.

Be patient and practice – it will come.

Play around with it.

It may not roll off your tongue immediately but it’s really something that you want to start focusing on.

Oh and on a side note… I know many people think that the VA industry is made up of nothing but administrative assistants and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

As I mentioned, I’m not an admin, never wanted to be, never was one. I’m not knocking admins they have great skills but it just wasn’t something that I wanted to do.

The VA industry is very, very diverse just like a business. There’s people here from HR, IT, like myself, people who do sales and marketing, systems and technology and many more.

So…  don’t think that you have to be an admin if you don’t want to be.

You can learn the skills and the systems that you need to make a difference and that help you quit your soul-sucking job or do whatever it is that you want to do.

Remember… clients are more interested in results NOT what you’re called. Focus on that!

What’s your title?

I’d love to know!

All comments + questions are welcome.

Here is another article talking about why you need to ditch titles and switch to talking to what you do and how you help your clients.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/08/13/the-law-of-specialization-in-personal-branding/#33295d0e1951

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Virtual Assistant Certifications: Why You Don’t Need One
  2. 5 Ways to Find Clients For Your VA Biz
  3. Creating Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan
  4. Creating Your Benefits Flyer.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

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